Review: After He Died, by Michael J. Malone


You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

I’m guessing it must be a bit of challenge to write authentically from the point of view of the opposite sex, but I’ve read (or listened to) a few books lately where the author seems to be able to do just that. After He Died, by Michael J. Malone is one of them.

The story starts with Paula Gadd being approached by Cara Connolly at the funeral of her husband, Thomas, and the note she is handed sends her on a path where the truth seems to want to stay tantalisingly out of reach. Cara blames Thomas for the death of her own brother, but how can Paula trust what she’s being told, when the man being described is nothing like the man she’d been married to for many years?

Michael expertly spins a tale of mystery from a web of family relationships, where the faces people portray are thin masks hiding their problems – or ambition. After He Died is an entertaining novel that keeps you hooked, with an ending that does not disappoint.

Oh, and I should mention that After He Died is published by Karen Sullivan’s Orenda Books. If ever there was a mark of quality, Orenda is it!


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Review: Dark Pines, by Will Dean

Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a remote Swedish town.
Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.
A web of secrets. And an unsolved murder from twenty years ago.
Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the final victim? She’d like to think so. But first, she must face her demons and venture far into the deep, dark woods if she wants to stand any chance of getting the hell out of small-time Gavrik.

Next up in my catch-up of missed reviews from 2018 is Dark Pines. Now here’s a question. Will Dean has published two books in his Tuva Moodyson series. So how the hell do I find myself with five different versions? It’s actually quite straight-forward (and with books being the only vice I’m going to admit to, it’s fair enough, I think). I bought Dark Pines on Kindle, but didn’t get around to reading it, even after hearing great things. Because I did hear great things, I got a signed paperback at CrimeFest in 2018. Still didn’t read it, but when I saw the Audible companion for a bargain price, I picked that up to (three versions now). That was my mistake.

Why a mistake, I hear you ask? I’ll tell you why. Because Dark Pines is read by Maya Lindh, and it is a fantastic narration. Maya’s voice is Tuva’s. Maya is a Swedish actress living in London, and her accent is perfect for the book. Even the odd word pronounced differently to how I’d pronounce it, makes me smile in a good way.

So when I picked up a signed copy of Red Snow at a Waterstones event in Picadilly a couple of weeks back (with Will Dean on the left of this photo, who isn’t the giant this photo seems to show!), I just had to spend an Audible credit on an audio copy too, just so that Maya can read it to me. Five versions!

Will Dean

Anyway, this is supposed to be a review of Dark Pines, but it’s going to be brief:

Fantastic atmospheric Scandi noir crime book. Tuva Moodyson is a wonderful protagonist, and the portrayal of her deafness feels very authentic and allows the author to put her in some sticky situations. The story is great, with plenty of suspects to keep you guessing, and going back to the word atmospheric, Will creates a very real feeling of claustrophobia in ten thousand acres of forest. I’m guessing living in a log cabin in a forest in the middle of Sweden will give you that sense of authenticity. Brilliant book – go buy it. I’m about to cue up Maya to read Red Snow to me!

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Review: Trust Me, by Angela Clarke



What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

Although this is the third in Angela’s social media murderer series, Trust Me works well as a standalone. Freddie Venton, working in a civilian consultant type role, and DS Nas Cudmore are both strong female leads, and whilst previous books give you their history, it’s easy to pick up and see how their almost dysfunctional partnership works well.

As you would expect, the dark side of social media plays a big part here. Kate’s a reliable type, but she’s had some wine and the police find her less than credible when she reports seeing a murder take place online. But Freddie and Nas are the perfect duo to take up the case, even if Freddie will often speak (and act) before she’s really thought about it – the perfect trait for an author to place her in jeopardy.

Trust Me is a great read, and the perfect filler to tide you over until Angela’s next book, the highly anticipated On My Life, is published on 7 March 2019.


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Review: The Third Wave, by Karla Forbes


Charles Morgan is a small operator in the vast computer technology industry but he has big ambitions. He borrows heavily from the Mafia to finance his dreams of becoming a big player but when he fails to make the expected profit, they are quick to demand their money back. Desperate to save his own skin, he hatches a plan that will cripple the competition and propel his new product into the ranks of market leader.

Bryony Elliot is a brilliant but naive British student who has the skills he needs to bring his plans to fruition. But she is refusing to cooperate. With time running out and his creditors’ threats becoming increasingly vicious, Morgan gives up on persuasion and employs deceit instead. Unaware of the true situation, Bryony launches a catastrophic virus attack on society. When she discovers that she has been used, she frantically attempts to stop the carnage she has wrought but she is up against violent men who are intent on stopping her.

Bryony must dig deep into her mental reserves to stay alive and reverse the damage but first, she must conquer the fears and demons that rule her life.
For Bryony has dark secrets of her own…

This is the second Nick Sullivan thriller (I reviewed Fallout here), and after having initial misgivings with the narration of that book, I was pleased to hear the familiar voice of Craig Bowles reading again.

Previously on the run, Nick was surviving by his wits and is pretty much doing the same again here. The stakes are just as high (although Nick doesn’t know that for most of the story), and I enjoyed the mystery of trying to work out what was going on.

Two niggles for me. I’m not convinced that Nick’s character would have done what he did on the boat (no spoilers), but maybe that’s just me. That’s minor. The more significant one that annoyed me more is that Nick is a bit too physical with women in this story. I’m not sure how many times he took hold of Bryony and shook her. Not the worst thing for a protagonist to do, but it did knock down his likeability for me.

But that aside, I enjoyed the story and the climax was very good.

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Review: Guarded Prognosis, by Richard L. Mabry MD


When Dr. Caden Taggart saw the two men sitting in his waiting room, he didn’t think they were patients. He was right, and when they introduced themselves as agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, things started to get bad.

Then Caden felt as though someone had gut-punched him when his father, Dr. Henry Taggart, told him he probably had carcinoma of the pancreas. When he talked about his son assisting with his suicide, Caden wondered how he could talk him out of that.

When he shared his news with his wife, Beth, she tried to assure Caden that God was in control. But as things progressed, he was unsure that was true. At first, he feared for his freedom. Then for his ability to cope. Eventually, he feared for his life.

This was the first medical thriller I’ve ‘read’ (via Audible) for some time (I think the last one was probably a Michael Crichton, in the 80s!), and this one was written by an actual MD, although I’m pleased that it wasn’t too heavy with medical jargon – although it did stray a little on occasion.

How best to review this book? Mmm…

The positives: The story held enough to interest me, although I found that you do have to suspend belief a little, especially in the supposed exploits of the DEA agents. The author creates a believable medical setting without being too technical. Narration was generally pretty good, and I was keen to find out what would happen to both Doctor Taggarts.

The not so positives: Not the fastest paced thriller out there. I’m normally okay with that if the story and characters can carry you along. The story was okay (with only a few bits that irritated me), but the characters? Wow, annoying. The author, I believe, was in practice from the 1960s, and his characters belong there. Old-fashioned in their outlook, behaviour, and lifestyle, they add a layer of unrealism to the story rather than bring it to life. There’s not much mystery here either. We know who the bad guys are from the off, with the only unknown being the insider. We’re only really introduced to a couple of the people at the practice, so there aren’t many candidates. And I guess like my medical professionals to place a little more reliance on science, and a little less on God.

All in all, mildly entertaining, but not the best out there.


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Book Review: A Murder of Crows, by Ian Skewis



I listened to this on audiobook through, read by the author himself.

Here’s the blurb:

The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

Russel McLean wrote of this book in 2014: There are shades of Iain Banks’ early works in here, and that is a very good thing.’ He’s dead right.

This is a dark novel with a wide cast of characters, most with their own agendas, and some there just to muddy the waters. A feeling of the preternatural is never far away with this story, and you can’t help but feel that things might just step into the supernatural. But the author manages to prolong both suspense and the sense of foreboding without that happening.

DCI Jack Russell – almost literally a dogged-detective- is our protagonist, but he doesn’t actually play that big a role in the story. He’s there throughout, with a decent secret of his own to spring on the unsuspecting reader, but I think he could have perhaps played a slightly bigger part, maybe by dropping one of the other detectives. That said, everyone has a role to play, and they play it well.

I’ve maybe read a few too many crime novels, as I managed to guess where Alistair was to be found, but I must admit, the killer did catch me by surprise! All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I nearly got annoyed when I thought things weren’t going to be all neatly tied up, but I was saved. Remember: “Nothing ever ends, not really. Everything is a prelude, a prologue, to something else…”

I heard Ian read an extract from A Murder of Crows at Noir at the Bar in Harrogate earlier this year (he’s in the middle, white shirt and tie), and was pleased to be able to listen to the rest on audiobook.



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Review: Don’t Make a Sound, by David Jackson


You can’t choose your family. Or can you?

Meet the Bensons. They’re an ordinary couple. They wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours. And they have a beautiful little girl called Daisy.

There’s just one problem.


D. S. Nathan Cody is about to face his darkest and most terrifying case yet . . .

If ever there was a book that would make you stop and question why an author isn’t yet a household name, Don’t Make a Sound is the one for David Jackson.

Don’t let the subject matter put you off. This is well-written and skilfully handled, but don’t think that you’re in for an easy ride. Jackson keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, showing us the peril Daisy is facing on a daily basis, and also putting Nathan Cody in a situation that is perhaps the worse position a man with his past can find himself in.

I was less than half-way through the book when I tweeted this:

Don't Make A Sound

That was what I was thinking by Chapter 15, and the book just got better and better. And just when I thought it was all over, the twist came, kicking my feet out from under me and stomping me where it hurts. Boy, I didn’t see that coming! Fantastic. And just a little bit disturbing, making you question everything you thought.

The future of crime fiction is bright, with David Jackson shining very brightly indeed!

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Review: Exit Strategy, by Colleen Cross



Diamonds, Danger, and Disappearance

A Katerina Carter Legal Thriller

Out of work and running out of money, private investigator and fraud expert Katerina Carter desperately needs more clients or she’ll be forced to go crawling back to a cubicle at her previous firm, a fate worse than debt.

So when Liberty Diamond Mines CEO Susan Sullivan hires Kat to find Liberty’s missing CFO and a large sum of embezzled money, she’s eager to accept the job. But her excitement soon turns to terror when two company employees are brutally murdered.

Kat realizes that this investigation is much more dangerous than she had ever imagined when she uncovers a sinister connection between blood diamonds and organized crime. She races against time to prove it—and stay alive long enough to expose the real criminals…or her first case might just be her last.

I listened to this book via Audible, and really enjoyed it! The forensic accountant angle for a protagonist is a new and unusual one for me, but one that worked well. Katerina (Kat) Carter is struggling to keep her Practice – and her life – afloat, when she’s hired by Liberty Diamonds following a $5 billion dollar embezzlement. But the prologue showing a daughter trying to betray her arms-dealing gangster of a father gives us a steer that there’s much more going on here.

Kat is hired by the CEO to try and track down the missing funds, but soon uncovers clues to something much bigger going on. With her foolish uncle having invested much more than he can afford into Liberty Diamonds, and her own livelihood hanging in the balance, there’s a lot at stake.

Kat Carter is an interesting choice of protagonist, smart, yet vulnerable, but with a dogged determination that drives her to uncover the truth, even as the bodies start mounting up, and it’s clear that her own life is in grave danger.

Great characters, great story and great narration (even though I struggled not to liken Uncle Harry’s voice to that of Marge Simpson!)

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Review: Seek and Destroy, by Alan McDermott



She got away once. They can’t let it happen again.

Eva Driscoll is on the run. She has a new identity, and the best part of $20m liberated from the CIA. Henry Langton is dead but his sinister allies are circling, and not even a presidential pardon can help Eva against an organization that operates above the White House.

With agents around the globe and no tactic off limits, Langton’s men are calling the shots. When they track down ex-CIA computer expert Farooq Naser and threaten Andrew Harvey and Tom Gray, Eva knows they will come for her next. She needs to run—and fast—but what chance does one woman have against the most powerful group in the United States, with just a few ex-spooks and a couple of mercenaries on her side?
But her pursuers should know that, even backed into a corner, Eva Driscoll is not the kind of prey to give up without a fight. But will it mean hurting those she cares for the most?

Seek and Destroy, due to be published on 14 November 2018, comes hot on the heels of the first Eva Driscoll novel, Run and Hide, which I reviewed over the summer. Eva’s story follows on from where the last book left off, and once again we are plunged into a shadowy world of espionage, where governments are not the most powerful organisations on the planet.

Eva’s world crossed with Tom Gray‘s (McDermott’s debut novel series character) in her first outing, and does so even more so in this story. In fact, I’d probably have to go back to check, but I’m not sure that Tom Gray doesn’t get more page time than Eva. But that’s not to the detriment of the story when you have two such great protagonists. And deadly too. And with that combination who or what can stand in their way?  But the stakes are high, with young children’s lives hanging in the balance, so nothing is guaranteed.

Seek and Destroy is another excellent, fast-paced thriller from Alan McDermott, who reminds us that in a world as dangerous as Eva Driscoll’s, nobody is safe. Or guaranteed to make it home.



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Review: Lost and Found, by JL Simpson


Hot on the success of her first case, British female sleuth Daisy Dunlop can count the offers of work on one finger. An empty bank account and the need to prove to her business partner, private investigator Solomon Liffey, that she is an asset, not a liability, calls for drastic measures. Terror has to be overcome as she answers a plea to find the one thing that gives her night sweats and flashbacks. A dog! A missing stud poodle to be exact.

Solomon’s amusement at Daisy’s new case is short lived when the arrest of his former girlfriend, Lisa, leaves him with the full-time care of his young daughter, Molly. A dead man is discovered in Lisa’s bed. Now he needs to help find the killer before Molly’s safety is compromised.

When Daisy realizes the dead man is linked to her current case, Solomon and Daisy are forced to work together to rescue the dog and uncover the killer’s motives. Would the sexual prowess of a poodle really incite someone to murder, or is the real motive hidden somewhere in Solomon’s secret past?

I’m going to start off by saying this isn’t my usual fare, and I think I probably enjoyed it all the more because of that. I listened to the story via Audible (lasting 9 hrs and 36 mins, and brilliantly read by Diana Croft), and found it very entertaining. The characters work their way through the story with a gentle humour that isn’t supposed to be ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny, but which will keep a smile on your face for the majority of the mystery.

And yes, we do have a mystery here. A stolen poodle.  Oh, and murder. But the main joy here is watching the interaction between Daisy and Soloman as they get themselves into all sorts of trouble and strife. Great characters, and perfect for this humorous private investigator murder mystery.

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Review: Devil’s Kitchen, by Stephen Puleston


How far would you go for the one you love?

It is Inspector Ian Drake’s first murder case and he’s keen to do a good job and impress his superiors. When the body of man and a woman are found at the bottom of a cliff face in the mountains of Snowdonia it seems a straight forward case. The woman has been brutally murdered and all the evidence points to her husband as the culprit.

But despite the clues Ian Drake wants to cover ever possibility. He builds a picture of the wife that suggests she was having an affair so Drake knows he has to investigate further. And when he discovers evidence about the husband he has to follow his instinct and dig deeper into their lives.

It is only after Drake’s superior officers have closed the case that he finally puts all the pieces together and discovers the final clues to identify the killer.

Devil’s Kitchen is a 70 page / 2 hour 21 minute novella prequel to Stephen Pulestone’s five Inspector Drake novels, set in fabulous north Wales. I listened to this via Audible, and it just happened to be the perfect length for my weekly drive to Wales. And the perfect setting too! Although this is a relatively short novella, the story is very complete, and never feels rushed, and there are enough twists, turns and dodgy suspects to keep fans of police procedurals very happy. Stephen’s writing is very crisp and clean, and his descriptions, brought to life for me by excellent narration of Richard Elfyn, paint a very vivid picture of the mountainous terrain of north Wales. I think releasing a prequel novella is an excellent idea to give potential readers a decent idea of a writer and their protagonist. And with Devil’s Kitchen, this pays off very well; I for one am keen to read more in the series.

And guess what? If you join Stephen Pulestone’s Readers’ Club, he’ll give you Devil’s Kitchen for free! Click here to join.

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Review: Fallout, by Karla Forbes


The British government is being blackmailed by criminals who got their hands on a quantity of plutonium left over from the Cold War. There is only one man who knows their identity and can prevent a disaster, but he is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit and has no intention of being found.

As the authorities attempt to track him down, the clock is ticking, and they are running out of time. They pin their hopes on the fact that a bunch of amateurs won’t have nuclear technology and the worst they will manage is a dirty bomb. After all, everyone knows they aren’t really that dangerous.

People run away from the explosion, and the radiation drifts harmlessly into the atmosphere. But suppose you could change that? What if the terrorists had found a way to keep the radiation near to the ground, encourage people to hang around breathing in death, and when you invite them to their own slaughter, they come willingly? They would be dangerous then…wouldn’t they?

I listened to this novel on audio, and I have to admit, at first I wasn’t taken with the narration. And I couldn’t really put my finger on why. But I did say ‘at first’ because by the time I was half-way through, all was fine, and by the end, I found myself hoping that it is Craig Bowles narrating the rest of the series.

And whilst this is clearly marked as book 1 in the Nick Sullivan thrillers, I was wondering how an on-the-run banker could become a main series character. And I was pleased to find that question resolved itself nicely at the end of the book.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is character-driven and moves along quite nicely, and despite some early deaths, it never feels hurried. I liked the idea of the protagonist being a wanted man, trying to avoid the police whilst trying to track down the real criminals. And with their crimes being far worse than Nick could ever imagine, and Nick’s own life becoming more and more in jeopardy, the stakes are high.

I’m looking forward to what Nick Sullivan gets up to in book 2!

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Review: Mortom, by Erik Therme


Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavoury secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game . . . or if the game is playing him.

This is the second Erik Therme book I’ve reviewed (following my review of Roam, in December). Similarly, I listened to this one via Audible, and similarly while listening I was again strongly reminded of Stephen King. King has such an amazing skill of creating believable characters whose journey you just want to follow, and I think Therme possesses that same skill.

He takes the reader, and his protagonist, Andy, on a macabre treasure-hunt which starts with a decomposing rat and faces us with tasks in places no sane person would undertake. But Andy is no ordinary person; he’s obsessed by puzzles, and the greatest one he needs to solve is why Craig has left his house, and this trail, to him. But with a deathly threat hanging over him, he has no choice other than to see things out – even when he doesn’t like where they’re heading.

I loved this story! The pace and story were wonderful, and the small town USA feel was perfect. The writing is such that even minor characters are memorable, and with secrets aplenty, you’re never too sure who is going to be important and who isn’t. And as a reader, Therme keeps you as baffled (and as interested) as he does Andy. Oh, and Christopher Lane’s narration is top notch too!


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Just Read… Run and Hide, by Alan McDermott



Eva Driscoll is used to chasing down bad guys, but now the bad guys are chasing her. She knows they won’t stop until she’s dead.

After her brother is killed in a faked suicide, Driscoll teams up with ex-soldier Rees Colback, the one person who can help her find answers. Together they’re determined to uncover why members of his Special Forces squad are dying in mysterious circumstances.

But with every agency in the country in hot pursuit, their only choice is to flee.

The clock is ticking. They can’t run forever. It’s time to make a choice: kill or be killed…

* * *

When you’ve already got a successful series, it’s always a risk to start something new. Alan McDermott released Trojan last year, a spin-off from his great Tom Gray series, with MI5 agent, Andrew Harvey in the driving seat. This time around, Run and Hide introduces us to Eva Driscoll, a brand new American protagonist, who is not short of skills when it comes to dealing with bad guys. Or even good guys, being bad.

Run and Hide isn’t a spin-off, but it is set in the same world as Tom Gray, and hence some familiar faces make an appearance, drawing the characters’ worlds together. In this story, there are powerful forces at work, and it is soon clear that Eva Driscoll is facing more than just a rogue team.

I mentioned the risk of starting a new series. The best way of dealing with risk is to mitigate it, and Alan has used all the right ingredients to pull it off: great writer; a fantastic kick-ass protagonist in Eva Driscoll;  a decent plot: and all of this wrapped up in a fast-paced novel. Great stuff!

Run and Hide is published today by Thomas & Mercer. Go buy it!


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Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Harrogate!


This was my first Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (known simply as ‘Harrogate’). And this small fact seemed to come as a surprise to nearly everyone who I mentioned it to, probably because I’m a familiar face at so many bookish things. And my thoughts? Well, it was just one of the best book-related things I have ever done, so here’s a write-up of some of my highlights. And there were so many, I can’t include them all.

But I’ll start by thanking my partner-in-crime, Keith B Walters, who was great company.

Me and Keith – photo from Ali Karim


The whole thing started when I stopped outside to take the obligatory arrival photo when I heard my name. I looked up to be greeted by the fab Mel Sherratt and Caroline Mitchell – and I hadn’t even stepped foot on to the grounds of the Swan Hotel.


I had a tough choice of events straight away (and unlike CrimeFest, you don’t normally have to do too much choosing), but opted for Noir at the Bar, which was run by Vic Watson, with brilliant readings from plenty of authors, including friends Roz Watkins, Susi Holliday, Dave Sivers, Louise Mangos and (new friend), Nic Parker. And through it all, Claire Macleary sat quietly on stage, looking all sweetness and light. And her reading to close the show was (brilliantly) anything but, and the perfect ending for the event!

Vic and Roz

Vic and Roz







Next up for me was Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, playing their crime-related set. And they were absolutely fantastic!

Fun Lovin' Crime Writers

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers


Friday started with Harrogate Special Guest, Denise Mina, who was interviewed by the fantastic Stav Sheraz, who later scooped the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for The Intrusions (congratulations, Stav!).

Stav & Denise

Stav & Denise

This was followed by the panel, I Used to do This for a Living, with Alafair Burke, Fiona Cummins, Chris Morgan Jones, Joseph Finder and chaired by Charles Cumming.

I Used to do This for a Living Panel

I Used to do This for a Living Panel

Next up for me was the That’s Where My Heart Is panel, with AA Dhand, Leye Adenie, Luca Veste, Susie Steiner and chaired by Peter Robinson.

I took a break then, returning for the Special Guests, Linwood Barclay and Laura Lippman

It was then upstairs to room 166 (renamed The Incident Room) for Thirteen: Live! with Steve Cavanagh, and three ‘juries’.

The it was on to the big event – Special Guest, John Grisham, discussing careers with Lee Child.

John Grisham

John Grisham signing a copy of The Rooster Bar for me!

Richard Osman’s Room 101 of Crime finished the evening’s entertainment, where Martyn Waites, Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham shared the crime fiction issues that they wanted to put into Room 101. It was very funny!

Richard Osman

Richard Osman!


First up for me was Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, playing their Pointless rip-off with Richard Osman and various guests. It was brilliant, and you can watch this again on Orion’s Facebook page, here:

Two Crime Writers

The New Blood panel was up next for me, with Dervla McTiernan, CJ Tudor, Stuart Turton, Will Dean, chaired by Val McDermid.

The What Happened Next? panel caught up with previous New Blood panellists, Liam McIlvanney, Kate Rhodes, Eva Dolan and Abir Mukherjee, which was chaired by Lee Child.

Another break for me before watching Special Guests, Sue Black & Val McDermid talking about Sue’s amazing work.

Special Guest, Don Winslow was interviewed by NJ Cooper, and the evening was rounded off by the Late Night Quiz, in which our table seems to have come sixth. SIXTH! Although one of the highlights of the evening was watching Steve Cavanagh successfully negotiate all of the tables with a full tray of beer. Skillz, man!

Steve Cavanagh.jpg

Steve Cavanagh – photo via Gerard Brennan


The weekend finished off with a panel: Frozen Lands, with Yrsa Siguroardttir, Samuel Bjork, and Ann Cleves, which was chaired by Steph McGovern from BBC Breakfast.


Frozen Lands Panel

Last session of the weekend was Special Guest, Sophie Hannah who was interviewed by Steve Mosby.


Steve Mosby & Sophie Hannah

And that was my weekend. Will I go again? Without a doubt! I got to catch up with many friends, and make a few new ones along the way. I had a fantastic weekend.

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